The Rapid Action Battalion yesterday inaugurated the use of Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) and a “data hub” to profile and identify law-breakers.

The data hub will be maintained by the agency in charge of intercepting electronic communication — the National Telecommunications Monitoring Centre (NTMC). The Rab will operate the hub together with the NTMC.

Rab officials said the data hub will store all personal details of an individual, including biometric information, in such a way that a simple search using a name or a fingerprint would be enough for identification.

The inauguration was done at the Rab headquarters in the capital as part of its technological upgradation. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan opened the event.

NTMC Director Brigadier General Ziaul Ahsan said they have built an integrated solutions framework that would allow them to coordinate information-sharing between all law enforcement and government agencies.

The Rab said this will help the elite force profile and identify law-breakers, and arrest criminals.

Rab Director General Chowdhury Abdullah Al-Mamun said the data hub will compile information about criminals in one place. “Even a Rab official in a remote area will be able to find information on criminals by conducting a simple search.”

OSINT refers to the use of tools to mine, scrape, crawl and analyse publicly available information.

In Bangladesh, publicly available information includes several aspects of a citizen’s phone and internet communications.

According to the 4G licensing guidelines, all telecommunications agencies providing 4G and LTE services are legally bound to maintain call records and store data session logs along with the IP addresses, for every user, for a period of two years.

The Rab said the use of OSINT will help them identify those spreading rumours and inciting content.

The NTMC director said the country needs an integrated intelligence system to tackle crime and skilled resources are needed to operate it.

The introduction of “data hub” comes at a time when there is no law for the protection of personal data.

Ahsan said, “We might have many concerns about data. Many may think that the government is acquiring all data. The fact is we need to analyse data to ensure that no crime is being committed.”

He said data security and privacy must also be kept in mind.

Rab DG Abdullah Al-Mamun said general people do not feel afraid to share data with the government. “Only criminals are afraid of giving data.”

The Rab also introduced a digital office management system to streamline its administrative functions. It launched a cloud storage to store evidence in digital format.

Senior Secretary Mostofa Kamal Uddin of the home ministry said cybercrime is on the rise in the country and Rab is working to fight it.

Moinur Rahman Chowdhury, acting inspector general of police, said this technological innovation will work to serve the country.